Huge win for car owners! All TSBs to be made public. The Center for Auto Safety just made the NHTSA (US Government) make public the full text of all TSBs from now on. They are the same organization that has petitioned the NHTSA & filed lawsuits to protect car owners over exploding gas tanks & other major safety issues. Whenever you drive in your car, you are safer thanks in part to a lot of work over the years by this small but very effective consumer advocacy group.

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really awful
Crashes / Fires:
3 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
58,884 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

2009 Chevrolet HHR brakes problems

brakes problem

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2009 Chevrolet HHR Owner Comments

problem #16

Feb 012014


  • miles


My 2009 HHR has what is referred to as the May 15, 2014 GM tail light malfunction. The malfunction is caused from faulty wiring and causes the brake lights illuminate without touching the brake pedal and they remain on while driving. This malfunction also disables safety features like electronic stability control which tries to correct for skids and panic braking assist, which is designed to make sure the vehicle's full braking power is being used in an emergency. It also disables the cruise control and the traction control. In 2014 G.M. said it knew of hundreds of complaints and 13 accidents associated with the problem. I have had several near accidents and several issues of road rage from other drivers since my HHR began the malfunctioning in February 2014 which is when I first contacted GM to get it fixed. Since then I have filed complaints with the NHTSA, the federal trade commission, the state of Wisconsin consumer protection Agency and GM but have not yet had anyone step up and fix the problem. Since the malfunction causes the BCM to lose memory with the brake positioning sensor I did take the vehicle to a certified GM dealership and had them re-learn the memory between the two. This solved the problem temporarily and lasted about two months. I cannot afford to have this done every two month as a solution. GM needs to be ordered to fix the issues correctly before someone is fatally injured.

- Gays Mills, WI, USA

problem #15

Oct 282015


  • 179,273 miles
I have a 2009 HHR and I have been having a number of problems the ESC and the ABS warning lights come at low speeds around 5 to 15 mph and the brakes make a growling noise I drive 80 miles a day back and forth to work in stop and go traffic on the interstate and the turnpike I am afraid I will rear end somebody or worse I don't want to let my wife drive the car because when it occurs she might not know on to react. When I turn the car off and it goes away for a while but comes back. And the service air bag light comes on from time to time when it is raining or heavy dew I had the recall performed on the air bags and it still is happening the passenger air bag display on the dash will come on when there is no one sitting in the passenger seat. The service ABS light also comes on at the same time as the ESC and the traction control light I don't feel safe I have 179,000 miles on the car the electrical system in this car has a major problem and it needs to be addressed by GM before more people are hurt or killed as I have read in other comments I don't want to take it to the dealer and just go thru the remove and replace tango trying to get lucky and fix the problem or play car doctor and treat the symptoms and not address the malady

- Land O Lakes, FL, USA

problem #14

Mar 192015


  • 62,000 miles
The contact owns a 2009 Chevrolet HHR. While driving 40 mph around a curve, the vehicle shook violently and the ESC warning light illuminated. In addition, the contact stated that the brake pedal was depressed and failed to operate. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 62,000.

- Manchester, TN, USA

problem #13

Feb 202015


  • 140,000 miles


Went to back HHR out of my garage and the brake pedal was rock hard with no give. Power steering has no power and the exc light is on. Not safe to drive at all. I have had numerous problems with this car. The ignition, air bags, brakes, door lock actuators...the list goes on. This one takes the cake due to safety concerns.

- Peru, IL, USA

problem #12

Jan 032015

HHR 4-cyl

  • 73,822 miles
Less then 24 hours off the lot I was driving home off hwy26 exiting to my town of watertown, wi. I was slowing down on the ramp and my side air bag deployed. I was hit in the head by the driver visor causing my to flinch and release the break for a slit second. I tried to reapply the break and had no breaks I was still at 40mph. It was snowing this caused me to not be able to turn so I hit a meaden snapping my a arm. I also snipped my ABS cable, blew out driver ball joints, bent the tie rod, dislocated my axel bent my rim and ruined my new tire on the driver side. On the passenger side I broke my knuck and blew out my ball joints. It locked up my driver seat belt and even with no one wearing the passenger one it locked that up too. After it happened going online I have found a few more cases like mine one caused a woman to spend a month and a half in hospital from hitting a pole.

- Watertown, WI, USA

problem #11

Jan 032015

HHR 4-cyl

  • 73,700 miles
After buying the HHR the day before I went to work. On my way back home. I got off on my exit about half way down the ramp my side airbags went off. Then I pushed the brakes and they did not respond sending me into a meaden causing my wheel to snap almost all the way off.

- Watertown, WI, USA

problem #10

Aug 162014


  • 84,000 miles


The contact owns a 2009 Chevrolet HHR. The contact stated that while driving at 40 mph, the contact stated that the power steering warning light illuminated and the brakes failed to respond. The contact mentioned that the vehicle was shifted to park in order to stop the vehicle. In addition, the air bag warning light illuminated. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 84,000.

- Chavies, KY, USA

problem #9

Apr 062009

HHR 4-cyl

  • miles
I bought my HHR brand new. Within weeks of having it, the brakes had to be replaced due to warping. This has become an every six month routine now. The brakes don't always catch and can be scary when trying to slow down. I've barely avoided wrecks several times, and usually that involves steering towards a ditch.

- Deering, ND, USA

problem #8

Jul 062011


  • 31,000 miles
The contact owns a 2009 Chevrolet HHR. The contact stated that while traveling 50 mph, the wheel wobbled. The contact also mentioned that the wipers failed to function and the vehicle stalled. The vehicle was taken to the dealer who stated that the ignition lock and rotors needed to be replaced. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 31,000 and the current mileage was 90,000.

- Algonquin, IL, USA

problem #7

Apr 022014


  • 90,000 miles
The ESC light cae on and it became difficult to steer, turn, and jerking when I apply the brakes. I've taken my HHR to the dealership on 3 and 4 of April 2014 for software update. Back to dealership on 7,8,9, for computer, however there was no additional charge. 17 April same issues as the 3 rd. 21 St to tweak the ESC problems. I have spoke with [xxx] the service manager at rinke Chevrolet 586 754 7000. I have left several messages for ed rinke the dealership owner. I need my vehicle to be safe! can you please assist me [xxx] information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Arlington, TX, USA

problem #6

Sep 012013


  • miles


My air bag service indicator light turns on intermittently. At least 5 times in the past year, no accidents, no problem seen with air bags by service dept at dealer. "??".the safety lock on the drivers side controls for all passenger windows does not lock the window operation. Braking system problem in the past 6 months. Ive returned to the mechanic 4 times had my brake pads changed, rotors turned, rotors resurfaced, only to have the same problem.....steering wheel shuddering bad when applying the brake. The rotors overheat and warp, but I will drive only 2 blocks and it happens. Don't think that is enough to overheat the rotors.

- Valencia, CA, USA

problem #5

Mar 032014


  • 88,000 miles
My car started with the ignition switch back in October with the key not shutting off the car and having to disconnect the battery to shut it off, took it into the dealer and they fixed it, but now things are getting scary. Every other day my car is telling me that the ABS systems needs fixed and that the traction control needs serviced. The breaks were replaced in December of 2013 and we were told that there is nothing else wrong with the car and now this.. took it back to the dealer and they informed us that there is nothing wrong with it, but the lights come on and go off for no reason.. the passenger seat belt locks all the time and even after you unlatch it, it stays locked for some time. I am so frustrated over this issue and can't get any answers on it.

- Stevens Point, WI, USA

problem #4

Jun 032013

HHR 4-cyl

  • 51,300 miles
The contact owns a 2009 Chevrolet HHR. The contact stated that the brakes malfunctioned, causing the contact to crash into the rear of another vehicle. The air bags failed to deploy. The contact suffered injuries to the chest and both legs. The vehicle was destroyed and a police report was filed at the scene. The manufacturer was not notified. The cause of the failure was not diagnosed. The failure mileage was 51,300. Updated 12/30/14 updated 9/25/2015

- Garden City, MI, USA

problem #3

Jan 012010


  • miles
When HHR is stopped on a hill, for a red light or from being parked on a hill or even a slope, it drifts backwards as soon as you go from having the brakes on, such as at a red light, to hitting the gas to go forward when the light turns green. This is very dangerous when there is a car behind you because the HHR always drifts backwards. You have to be prepared to hit the gas quick and hope the car behind you isn't too close. Also, when backing up while on a hill, the car drifts forward even though you're hitting the gas causing the HHR to come within inches of the car in front of it. We've had a number of close calls and continue to do so. It's a panicky situation because you're basically 'stuck' because as soon as you take you're foot off of the brake, it drifts and there's nothing you can do, but hope you can get out of the situation without causing an accident. It's scary, so you have to get your foot on the gas and hit it immediately and pray that you don't drift into the car in front of you or behind you, depending on the situation. This doesn't just happen occasionally - it will happen each time.

- Pittsburgh, PA, USA

problem #2

Nov 042010

HHR 4-cyl

  • 37,049 miles
Front disc brakes pulsate and cause vibration in steering wheel.

- Clifton Park, NY, USA

problem #1

Apr 172012


  • 32,000 miles
The contact owns a 2009 Chevrolet HHR. The contact stated that he had several problems with the vehicle. The failures included the brakes, power steering assist and a foul odor being emitted through the ventilation system. In addition, the driver's side door handle cable fractured and the check engine warning light was illuminated on the instrument panel. The contact stated that he took the vehicle to the dealer for the failure of the power steering assist where they advised that the steering rack needed to be replaced. The steering rack was repaired but the failure recurred. The vehicle was then taken to the dealer because the check engine light was illuminated and they advised that the cam shaft sensor needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired but the vehicle began to drive roughly afterward. The vehicle was also taken to the dealer for the brake failure, door handle and the exhaust and the technicians stated that they could not duplicate the brake problem or the foul odor that was coming through the exhaust. In addition, the cable in the door handle needed to be replaced. The manufacturer was notified but provided no assistance. The failure mileage was 32,000.

- New Paltz, NY, USA

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